World-renowned Parisian baker and TV personality Gontran Cherrier has just opened his newest international bakery, and first Australian store, in Collingwood.
You won’t be able to miss it thanks to the big pink neon ‘GC’ emblazoned on the window, the motto ‘Let them eat croissants’ inside and the smell of buttery pastry and fresh bread coming straight from the ovens to the counter!
The bakery stocks all of Gontran’s signature creations, including croissants, traditional French baguettes, viennoieseries and products using black squid ink and miso.
The glass counter groans with fresh made products and it’s very hard to choose a favourite – but I think the koning annan has my heart. Layers of flaky pastry are twisted into a palmier shape and then encrusted with a crisp sugar coating. Runner up would have to be these amazing chocolate eclairs!
All of the products are made with French flour. It’s arguably not very sustainable importing flour from overseas but French flour is typically less processed than local flour and the flour used at Gontran Cherrier takes more than 50 farmers, two mills and 100 bakers to research and refine a final product. The flour is made without additives or preservatives.
Label Rouge T65 is used for baking bread and baguettes and Label Rouge T45 is used for brioche, croissants and other patisseries.
Certainly the baguette that I sample, shaped by Cherrier himself and baked in a French Bongard oven, is one of the best I’ve ever had in Melbourne. It’s light and crunchy on the outside, with little air bubbles on the inside.
The large space also has an in-store cafe, with a very reasonably priced breakfast and lunch menu done with a French twist and created by Travis Welch. I was invited to sample some of the menu items and baked goods and was unexpectedly delighted by the sandwich made with truffled cauliflower with Gruyere béchamel – sort of like a cauliflower bake between bread!
Gontran Cherrier is a must-go destination if you love your French bread and patisserie, with authentic recipes given a contemporary makeover and an Aussie twist. Bon appetit!
Gontran Cherrier Artisan Boulangerie and Cafe
140 Smith Street, Collingwood
Open 7 days 7am-6pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)